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Getting Around Tallahassee Without a Car

Getting Around Tallahassee Without a Car

Getting Around Town

I love my car. It’s a grey 2014 Honda Civic I charmingly named Ashton when I was 16. Driving my car around my hometown made me feel cool, especially when driving picking my friends up for school. After moving 8 hours away to FSU, imagine my surprise when my parents said I could not have my car for the first two years. My mom’s reasoning: I didn’t know what Tallahassee driving was like yet, I was always an anxious driver, and I shouldn’t be leaving campus anyway. Some of the logic was correct, as I, at the time, could not drive through Miami without screaming the entire time (I think that’s fair though) but it was still a pain to figure out how to get places without spending a bunch on an Uber.

There’s no subway in Tallahassee, nor any type of bullet train to get you anywhere in no time, however, FSU has you covered (for the most part.) Wherever FSU doesn’t have you covered, there are some workarounds.

It doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you have a bus stop

One common misconception is that if you don’t drive in Tallahassee, you need to live on FSU Campus or in an apartment that’s walking distance. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: if you get an apartment that has a bus route that takes you to right outside your classes, you’ll barely walk at all. My first off-campus apartment in Tallahassee was six miles away from campus, which meant a 6 minute drive in my hometown but a 20 minute drive here.

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During my years at this apartment, I enjoyed walking from my front door to the complex’s assigned bus stop, then riding that bus to the top of Mt. Diffenbaugh, avoiding that exhausting hike up the hill. Some FSU busses will stop at a neutral point with Tallahassee city busses, and from there you can travel from your apartment/dorms to other areas if you’re avoiding the cost of a ride with Uber or Lyft.

One thing to make note of here though is exactly where your stop is along the roof. The bus I rode always had room for me and everyone at my complex. That kind of sucked for people at the next complex on the route because sometimes the bus would be filled once the driver picked up my spot. The next bus will arrive in 15-25 minutes or so. I think the longest I ended up waiting was 40 minutes but I’ll admit that was a particularly bad day for FSU and everyone else.

Students boarding Miss Frizzle's magic school bus
Disclaimer: FSU Buses may not be driven by Miss Frizzle

Consider the alternatives

If the bus isn’t your style, I get it. No one really enjoys riding a bus as much as they would driving their own car. Some students will get motorized scooters to take them to campus; benefits include easier access to parking once you find the scooter spots, as well as a scooter being less expensive than a car. Taking this route means you’ll essentially be driving a motorcycle, so you’re going to need good balance and reflexes. If you’re under the age of 21, the state of Florida will require you to wear a helmet and have a license plate stating you’re under 21. Past that, if you have the keys in your hand, you’re good to go.

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If you are able to move somewhere close to campus, but you still don’t want to walk, the FSU buses have railings in the front to hold bicycles for the distance you need to cover before you get here. I at one point owned a razor scooter, and I greatly enjoyed scoot-scooting around campus until I hit a loose brick and flew twenty feet. Everyone saw. I had to pick up my razor scooter and scoot-scoot away in shame. Physically, I was okay. Mentally, my pride was shattered. 

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I’ve also seen students use rollerblades, skateboards, onewheels, and pretty much every other form of transportation you can get off the shelf at the store. While I don’t recommend using a onewheel to get yourself halfway across Tallahassee, if your distance is too short for the bus but too long for your feet, any of the above objects can help lessen the stress of your commute. Please do not use circular skates. There’s nothing wrong with them, I am just actively terrified of anyone with the ability and courage to use those. They are too brave, and too able. Who knows what else they could do? 

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A woman riding a red scooter
They me rollin’…they hatin’…

Rent in a Walkable area

If you can’t live near campus, you should at least live somewhere that’s walking distance of some places. My last apartment was fairly far out from FSU, so I would have to walk about two miles to get to the Publix. I soon grew jealous of my friends who lived in the complex right behind Publix, more so of my friends who lived on Gaines St. While I never had issues with the bus taking me to campus, those Uber prices sure added up whenever I wanted to have a fun night out. Kind of just got used to staying home to have fun, which I regret having to do as a college student who should’ve been out and about being young, wild, and free like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa wanted me to be.

I would not recommend living directly on W. Tennessee street though if your main goal for your apartment is for it to be a walkable area, for there are many better walkable areas than the chaos of W. Tennessee. It’s a little too common for me to hear news stories of students getting hit while crossing the road there, and I want everyone to be safe. Think about what “walkable” means to you and your human abilities, in addition to what you desire from where you live in order to have the best experience living in Tallahassee without a car.

Hey! I'm walkin here! I'm walkin here!
Live footage of everyone crossing West Tennessee